Devices & Diagnostics

Apple: Medtronic has developed 175 iPhone and iPad apps for employees to use

Updated: When I tuned into Apple’s quarterly earning conference call yesterday, my goal was to get more information on its IBM collaboration, particularly what it could do with Watson’s big data capabilities in healthcare. Analysts tried but Apple wouldn’t go into details. But I did find an interesting tidbit about 13 minutes into the call […]

Updated: When I tuned into Apple’s quarterly earning conference call yesterday, my goal was to get more information on its IBM collaboration, particularly what it could do with Watson’s big data capabilities in healthcare. Analysts tried but Apple wouldn’t go into details. But I did find an interesting tidbit about 13 minutes into the call when Apple called attention to how Medtronic is using its iOS platform to develop apps for its medical device business internally — 175 custom apps used across 16,500 iPhones and 13,500 iPads, to be exact.

Since the launch of Medtronic’s App Market more than three years ago, the company has made mobility a big priority. The move was well ahead of rival medical device companies and it has embraced mobile solutions as a way to advance its business.

The medical device maker has used apps to help sales teams access proprietary information. Using 3D images makes it easier to illustrate medical devices and how they function. Updating sales and marketing content on apps is easier, faster and more engaging. It saves loads on paper, too.

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Among its sales apps are mSTAR — a productivity tool that reps use to order and register products, and then integrate them with the company’s back-end systems. mCMS is a content management app for sales staff and managers to organize, present and distribute product information based on topics and audience.

I counted 17 consumer apps that Medtronic has released in Apple’s U.S. store — a good deal fewer than its business side. In an emailed response to questions, a spokeswoman wrote that Medtronic has released 70 apps for consumers worldwide. These companion apps make it easier for patients to order supplies and accessories for its insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor but also focus on improving understanding of medical procedures, specifically of the devices that will be implanted into their bodies.

Beyond building apps, Medtronic has provided financial backing for pilot studies of innovative mobile tools to increase access to care, such as its work with ClickMedix to screen people in India for ear infections using a smartphone device.